A Place So Foreign and Eight More Stories

A Place So Foreign and Eight More Stories

Cory Doctorow

Language: English

Publisher: Running Press

Published: Nov 15, 2000

Words: 20328
Pages: 82


Amazon.com Review Wunderkind Cory Doctrow continues to display his orientation skills at the intersection of Humanity and Technology with the collection of short stories *A Place So Foreign and 8 More*. In the collection's titular tale, "A Place So Foreign," a 19th-century boy travels with his father, the Ambassador to 1975. But when Pa meets with an accident, young James becomes a living anachronism in 1898. Doctrow twists the time travel tale into a parable of data mining, as mysterious forces work to plunder the past for corporate gain. In one of several stories about a mysterious alien race who offers to give Earthers a hand up, he documents the adolescent rage of those left behind when the "mothaship" takes the anointed few into the brave new world. Finally, in "0wnz0red", Doctrow explores the dark side of Silicon Valley's connection to the military industrial complex by posing the question: What happens when hackers learn to hack the human body? Doctrow is a new breed in an increasingly literate and valid subgenre of science fiction. He uses the traditional allegories of the form to explore more human and fragile connections. As the 21st century rockets ahead, he examines the consequences of our frenzy to embrace technology and predicts outcomes that are both charmingly optimistic and bleakly hollow. *--Jeremy Pugh From Publishers Weekly Postcyberpunk Doctorow, a rising Canadian SF star, follows his Orwellian Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (2003) with nine too-near-future tales of aliens and the human alienated-and it's often hard to tell the difference. In "Craphound," the author posits an Earth taken over by "bugouts," aliens obsessed with trading technological expertise for human junk, the ephemera that momentarily defines a society and then becomes silly or naive when some new and more soul-destroying technological amusement arrives. That Faustian central metaphor of the thirst for technology as the ultimate source of spiritual corruption almost guarantees Doctorow's other absorption, his vision of Disneyland in "Return to Pleasure Island," a horrifying sidewise glimpse of the children's entertainment industry. Since the short story form seems somewhat restrictive for him, his best pieces, like his achingly funny reflections on adolescence ("The Year of the Hormone") and a Jewish superman in the era of the Pax Aliena ("The Super Man and the Bugout"), need at least novella-size room. His closing story, "OwnzOred," a shockingly original glimpse of 21st-century mankind tottering at the brink of a mortally steep cliff, is a polemic on fair-use freedom. By relentlessly exposing disenchanted Silicon Valley dwellers caught in a military-industrial web of khaki money, Congress-critters and babykiller projects, Doctorow explores the intersection of social concern and technology-Never-Never land, or 2084? Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.